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Buy FSC-certified wood floors

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Buying wood floors made of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified wood guarantees the lumber is taken from forests that are properly managed.

How to buy FSC-certified wood floors

An increasing number of flooring companies carry FSC-certified wood.

  • Start by checking the Forest Certification Resource Center, which has a searchable database of suppliers and companies that currently make and sell certified wood floors. Look for those companies that use only FSC-certified wood.
  • You can also search “A SMART Guide to Green Building Wood Sources (starting on page 20) by the Rainforest Alliance, an accredited FSC certifier.
  • When in a store, be sure to look for the FSC logo on wood products. Most items made with FSC-certified wood have on-product FSC labels. However some companies aren't consistent about applying them.
  • If a company claims a product is FSC-certified, but it doesn't bear the logo, ask to see the supplier's FSC certificate and/or product tracking information, including invoices or receipts (which should indicate FSC certification).

Find it! FSC-Certified wood floors

For links to additional companies that offer FSC-certified floors and other wood products, visit Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities Partnership.

Buying a FSC-certified wood floor helps you go green because…

  • It ensures forests are properly managed, which in turn ensures soil, waterways, and wildlife are protected.

Forest ecosystems are all critical to maintaining life on Earth. They filter the air, stabilize climate by absorbing CO2, and provide habitat for 90 percent of all land-dwelling plant and animals species.[1] As demand for wood and other forest products has grown, many groups have worked to develop a management system that promotes responsible forest practices to protect trees, soil, waterways, and wildlife[2] while maximizing the quality and quantity of timber.[3] Forest certification alerts consumers that wood products come from properly managed forests.[1]

Forest Stewardship Council

There are several organizations certifying lumber, but according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), only one is preferred by green experts worldwide—the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).[1] FSC is an international nonprofit organization that was formed in 1993. It accredits certifiers, who in turn use auditors to inspect timber operations (only those that voluntarily request FSC certification) to guarantee that trees are sustainably harvested using forestry practices that maintain the diversity of native species, prevent over-cutting, protect watersheds and ensure long-term forest management.[4]

FSC's program is endorsed by most national and international environmental NGOs; unions; social groups; indigenous peoples; timber industries; private, communal, and state forest owners; and scientists from over 60 countries,[5] including such organizations as the World Wildlife Foundation, The Wilderness Society, The Natural Resource Defense Council, the Rainforest Alliance and the World Resources Institute.[6]

FSC has six strict principles for monitoring every stage of production, distribution, and sale of wood products, and works with wholesalers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.[7] These principles cover environmental, social, and economic criteria,[8] such as harvest rates and clearing sizes, natural forest conditions, rare, threatened, and endangered species, adequate conservation zones, chemical use (minimized), protection of streams and lakes, and the health of workers, communities, and indigenous peoples.[1] Only those operations that meet the criteria are allowed to display the FSC label.[9]

In the last few years, the top three wood buyers in the world – Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Ikea–all committed to work with the Forest Stewardship Council to reduce their consumption of non-sustainable wood products.[10]


Buying wood with some type of environmental certification can help ensure it was harvested sustainably, however not all certifying bodies are equal. FSC is the only international accrediting body which guarantees that wood has been sustainably harvested. There are several other labels used to certify wood that are not nearly as rigorous.[11] For instance, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) (developed by the American Forest & Paper Association, an industry trade group) was found to have significant shortcomings when compared to FSC.[12]

The anti-SFI coalition (including such groups as ForestEthics, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and Natural Resources Defense Council) has charged SFI with failing to effectively protect forests (especially old growth stands) by permitting members to indiscriminately log diverse forests and replace them with a single species, ignoring crucial social issues,[13] and delivering no credible assurances to the consumer.[14]


  • old growth forest: Also known as virgin forest, ancient forest, or primary forest, is an area of forest which has attained great age, containing a variety of vertical layers of vegetation, including large live trees. These forests may also be home to many rare species that are dependent on these ecologically unique old growth features.[15]

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